How Can a Parent Lose Custody of Their Child?

For the most part, children fare better when both parents are involved in their lives. Therefore, Florida and other states often default to shared joint custody in the event of a divorce. However, custody decisions are not always permanent. Things can happen that can cause either parent to lose custody down the road.

Child custody is determined by the best interests of the child, and judges take various factors into consideration. For example, does the parent provide the child with their basic needs? Does the parent provide daily care and guidance? Is the child in a stable, loving environment?

Most parents are able to properly care for their children. Unfortunately, some are not and because the child’s life is in danger, they may lose custody. Here are some situations in which a parent can lose custody of their child.

Child Abuse

A child should not be abused in any way—physically, mentally or sexually. Child abuse is looked at harshly, so a parent can lose custody if they harm their child or allow someone else to abuse them. Child abuse can occur in various forms, so get help if you are unsure if you are caring for your child properly.


Children have needs, just like adults. They need food, water, clothing, shelter, education and medical care. If you do not feed your child or make them go to school, that is considered neglect. So is not bathing and caring for your child, or allowing them to stay home alone without parental supervision. If you’re providing your child with basic needs, you could lose custody.

Mental Illness

Many parents with mental illnesses properly care for their children. However, if you have an illness that is left untreated, you could put your child in danger. Mental illnesses can cause people to act strangely, so if you have a psychotic episode and end up harming or neglecting your child, you could lose custody. Make sure to take medications as ordered and get any other treatment you need.


An addiction can cause a parent to neglect their child. Substance abuse such as excessive use of alcohol and drugs can endanger a child. A parent may spend all their money on these substances and neglect their child. They may also be constantly intoxicated and unable to care for their child properly. It is important that you seek treatment for any addiction or risk losing child custody.

Contact a Maryland Divorce Lawyer Today

Courts want what is best for the children and they do their best to promote shared child custody. However, sometimes removing a child from one parent’s custody is in a child’s best interests.

If you are trying to modify child custody, a Columbia divorce lawyer at The Law Offices of Todd K. Mohink, P.A. can help. We understand these situations can be contentious, but we can assess the current child custody agreement and ensure it is working well for all involved. We have two offices to serve you. Schedule a free consultation today. Fill out the online form or call (410) 774-5987.


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